Shannen needed to purchase better equipment to grow her business. Thanks to our partnership with Lending Club, we’re helping Shannen reach her goals with our small business loans.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too. Read about Shannen Enos of Enos CPR Services. Shannen needed to purchase better equipment to grow her business. Thanks to our partnership with Lending Club, we’re helping Shannen reach her goals with our small business loans.

A Hands-on Entrepreneur

Shannen Enos started her CPR and first aid training business, Enos CPR Services, in August 2007. As an independent contractor for the American Heart Association, Shannen uses her decades of experience as a registered nurse to teach an essential life saving skill.

Through Enos CPR, Shannen provides training for companies that ask their employees to become certified in CPR, first aid, and automated external defibrillator (AED) use. Her work has taken her to teach at workplaces all around the Bay Area plus six states outside of California.

Like many small business owners, Shannen does it all for her company. On top of running her training classes, she’s the one who balances the books, maintains schedules, and develops client relationships. She also works part time as an emergency room nurse at Kaiser Walnut Creek.

Shannen knows what she needs to keep her business running well, so when she reached out to lenders to find a small business loan, she was surprised to run into several obstacles to funding.

“I needed to upgrade my equipment to offer more in-depth classes,” Shannen said. “Every single place I turned to for lending shut the door on me. They didn’t see my business growth. I never pay my bills late. I represent myself well as a business owner and a person. It felt like those lenders weren’t giving me a chance to prove it.”

She almost gave up. Then she tried one more lender.

Growing a Healthy Business

Shannen came to Opportunity Fund through our partnership with Lending Club. Based on her previous experience in business lending, she came into the process feeling skeptical.

“I figured Opportunity Fund was another company that would shut the door on me,” she said. “Opportunity Fund got back to me the very next day, apologizing for my bad experiences and saying they wanted to help.”

We worked with Shannen to close a $15,000 loan in May 2016–the first ever loan in our Lending Club partnership!

Shannen Enos - Enos CPR Services

Shannen keeps her students engaged through hands-on instruction and real world life-saving lessons (photo courtesy of Christian Peacock)

“I never knew how difficult it would be to get funding,” Shannen said. “With Opportunity Fund. I didn’t feel pushed aside. We had conversations about me as a person and me as a business owner.”

Now that Shannen has the working capital she needs for her business, she can focus on helping others learn CPR and potentially save a life. She even taught a class for our staff at Opportunity Fund’s San Jose headquarters in November 2016.

We’re proud to support hardworking entrepreneurs who make a difference, and we’re happy to help Shannen grow her business.


We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.

Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. In fiscal year ’16, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses. Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Gayle founded a successful business card management company in San Diego. When she needed to complete a major software project, Opportunity Fund was there to help with a small business loan. Thanks to the working capital, BusinessCardManager.com is on the fast track to greater success.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too.  Read about Gayle Hawks of BusinessCardManager.com in San Diego. Gayle founded a successful business card management company in San Diego. When she needed to complete a major software project, Opportunity Fund was there to help with a small business loan. Thanks to the working capital, BusinessCardManager.com is on the fast track to greater success.

Managing Success

Gayle Hawks started BusinessCardManager.com in 2002 in San Diego. The online company manages business cards for large organizations and government agencies throughout the United States. “We work with any business in the public or private sector, for profit and non-profit, that has 100 employees or more,” Gayle said.  

With the help of her business partner and husband Keith, Gayle has grown the online company into a leader in online business card management. As the business grew, she had to add staff and build a new sales office. Gayle saw the future of her company in advanced software for BusinessCardManager.com. They needed an application program interface (API) to create the upgraded business card procurement and management solutions that put the company on the map.

“The new API allows us to offer services to large organizations that no one else can,” Gayle said.

Working capital didn’t come easy for Gayle, even as BusinessCardManager.com was doing well. It’s a tough industry where many printing companies failed during the latest recession. Plus, she had waves of high-interest loan offers coming at her from every angle. Her search for the right loan was complicated.

Graduating to Better Financing

Gayle learned about Opportunity Fund through her small business lending research online. She reached out to our business development officer Adriana Williams, who helped close a $35,000 loan for BusinessCardManager.com in July 2015.

“Adriana was easy to work with,” Gayle said. “Everything was professional and quick. I never had to wait for her to call me back. I never had to wonder about a thing.”

The loan allowed Gayle and her team to complete and launch their new software.  “Without the loan from Opportunity Fund, we would be a year behind,” Gayle said.

Gayle Hawks - BCM.com

Opportunity Fund helps small business owners like Gayle “graduate” to better small business financing (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)


Gayle is thankful for the working capital that gave her some breathing room while launching the best version of BusinessCardManager.com. Even better, she was able to repay the loan is less than two years. With help from our fast, easy-to-get, and affordable small business loans, her business can qualify for lower interest, longer-term loans from lenders like the U.S. Small Business Administration. We’ve helped small business owners like Gayle “graduate” to better financing.

The next level of the business is an online portal integrated with human capital management software platforms that will allow clients to manage their business cards from any platform. “That’s our future,” Gayle said. “We want to hire more sales staff and expand our marketing to get to the next level.”

We’re excited to support successful entrepreneurs like Gayle and we’re proud to watch her take the next step with her business.

We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.


Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Javier Rodriguez needed a small business loan to improve his Colombian restaurant in San Diego. Thanks to a small business loan from Opportunity Fund, Javier was able to buy inventory from Colombia and new equipment for Antojitos Colombianos.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too.  Read about Javier Rodriguez of Antojitos Colombianos in San Diego. Opportunity Fund helped Javier get the loan he needed to buy inventory from Colombia and new equipment for his Colombian restaurant.

Serving Up Success

Javier Rodriguez opened the first Colombian restaurant in San Diego in 2011. Six years later, Antojitos Colombianos has grown into an essential neighborhood spot for authentic Colombian food and good times with friends.

Javier came to the United States from Colombia to study business. After studying at San Diego City College, he worked in the hospitality and restaurant management industry for over two decades. Before long, he followed through with his dream to start his own business.

“I didn’t want to work for someone else,” he said. “I wanted time for my family and to set my own schedule.”

Family is a big part of Javier’s life, both at home and the restaurant. Antojitos Colombianos staff is mostly family members, from Javier’s wife and kids to cousins and nephews. “I’m thankful for my business,” he said. “We can pay the bills and rent, and we can put some money aside to travel to Colombia.”

With 20 years of success in the industry and two Small Business of the Year awards from California State Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, Javier is no stranger to success. He found he needed a little help to keep Antojitos Colombianos on top for his customers. “I needed to buy merchandise from Colombia, which is very expensive,” he said. “I needed new equipment too.”

Helping Entrepreneurs Engage Their Communities

Javier followed a tip from a friend and fellow business owner about Opportunity Fund. When Javier met loan officer Byron Escobar, he knew it was the right connection.

“Byron came to my house to help me get started with the loan process,” Javier said. “The money was in my bank account 72 hours after I signed the application.”

Javier and Byron - Antojitos Colombianos

Javier works with Byron to improve his business and to reach out to entrepreneurs in his neighborhood (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)


Byron helped close the $10,000 loan in September 2016. The fast, easy-to-get, and affordable capital made a difference in Javier’s business right away. The regulars from the Imperial Avenue neighborhood mix with customers from the nearby military base to create a fun atmosphere with live music and delicious food.

Javier is grateful for the connection to Opportunity Fund, not just for the working capital but also to build a relationship with a lender that understands his needs.

“I tried other lenders,” he said. “There were so many requirements. Unfortunately I didn’t meet some of them.”

See how we’re helping Javier grow his business in this video:


Javier gives back to the small business community by hosting meetings at his restaurant for local entrepreneurs to meet Byron and get answers to their questions about financing.

We’re proud to support outstanding small business owners like Javier and we’re glad to assist him with building a network for local entrepreneurs.

We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. In fiscal year ‘16, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Roan wanted to grow her art studio into a hub for local artists. Thanks to three small business loans from Opportunity Fund, The Arsenal is opening a new studio and gallery in San Jose’s Japantown.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too. Get to know Roan Victor of The Arsenal in San Jose. Roan wanted to grow her art studio into a hub for local artists. Thanks to three small business loans from Opportunity Fund, The Arsenal is opening a new studio and gallery in San Jose’s Japantown.

Creating Connections in the San Jose Art Community

Roan Victor started The Arsenal in the summer of 2011. Roan and her husband Sean Boyles, both artists based in San Jose, chose to open an art studio and gallery in their hometown.

The Arsenal offers art classes and workshops to artists in the community of all ages and skill levels. “We work with all kinds of people,” Roan said. “Seniors would come in to buy oil paints, and at the same time, younger guys would come in to buy spray paint. They would all interact with each other. It was fun to bring different cultures and ages together.”

Roan’s vision for her business included a move to their dream location in San Jose’s Japantown, for the community art connections, walkable neighborhood, and strong small business network. First, she needed a small business loan to help The Arsenal grow.

Her business banker at Bank of America was focused more on the financial success of The Arsenal, which didn’t meet her needs as a small business owner. “Our goal is to have a significant contribution to the art community in San Jose,” she said.

Opportunity Fund Helps The Arsenal Stay in the Picture

Bank of America connected Roan to Opportunity Fund loan consultant Laly Velazquez, who was able to close a $4,000 loan in September 2014 for The Arsenal. The funds helped Roan set up a new classroom space with proper lighting. Roan paid off the loan in less than a year and applied for a second loan of $8,000 in June 2015, which helped replace and maintain equipment like their silk screen machine.

Roan came back for a third loan this January for $8,000 to help move The Arsenal to Japantown. Roan and Sean are working with Roan’s sister Regine to prepare their new space for a grand re-opening this summer. With their new space, The Arsenal can offer studio space to local artists, plus more classes and workshops featuring artists from the area and a brand new art gallery.

Roan Victor - The Arsenal

Roan is a teacher, a business leader, and an advocate for her community arts scene (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)

Laly’s help through the loan process made a difference for Roan. “Sean and I both went to school for art so we don’t have a business background,” Roan said. “Working with Laly is like talking to a friend. She shows me what to do and how Opportunity Fund can help.”

Roan sees The Arsenal as a part of Japantown’s thriving arts scene and business community. “Our goal is to have a great studio with everything artists need, like what I had when I was studying painting at San Jose State,” she said. “I want to build a hub where artists with different experiences can work together.”

We’re proud to support Roan’s dreams to build The Arsenal into a community hub for artists and creators.

We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. Last year, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Deago Williams started his life over by starting his own business. He worked hard to build his business but couldn’t get financing through his bank. Deago is improving his business thanks to two small business loans from Opportunity Fund.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too. Get to know Deago Williams of Williams Auto Detailing in Sacramento. Deago started his life over with hard work but couldn’t get a bank loan to grow his business. Read how we’re helping Deago improve his business and better serve his customers with our small business loans.

A Second Chance for a First Time Business Owner

Deago Williams took an unconventional path to entrepreneurship. After serving 16 years in prison in the Midwest, he came to Sacramento, California looking for a chance to rebuild his life.

Deago has 13 years of auto detailing experience, so he got back into the industry when he landed in California. “I had to teach myself all over again,” he said. “I got tired of working for somebody else. I wanted to see what it was like to have my own business.”

He founded Williams Auto Detailing in 2014 to fulfill those ambitions. Deago and his staff of his wife Denise and a new hire from the shop’s neighborhood work primarily with auto dealers in need of professional cleaning for their car inventories.

Soon Deago found the hard truth for most small business owners: it’s impossible to do everything on your own. He was working in the business every day, plus handling the finances, marketing, and other business functions.

He needed a small business loan to help purchase new equipment. “I go through a lot of money,” he said. “I’ve been able to stay in business this long because I put majority of my money back into my business.”

Deago’s bank couldn’t help, but a connection to Opportunity Fund made a huge difference for Williams Auto Detailing.

A Bright Future with Clean Cars

When I started my business I had no credit,” Deago said. His business banker at Wells Fargo was supportive of Deago’s business goals, but couldn’t get him the loan he needed. They introduced Deago to Opportunity Fund loan consultant Madieu Shyllon.

“Madieu visited me at my business,” Deago said. “He saw where I was coming from. He understood me and gave me confidence.”

Madieu got Deago started with a $3,500 loan in November 2015. Deago was able to pay the loan off and get a second loan of $8,000 in May 2016.

The working capital helps pay for backups for equipment that breaks down, which allows three Williams Auto Detailing employees to keep up with demand from seven auto dealers.

Deago Williams - Williams Auto Detailing

Deago counts on our small business loans to help him buy new equipment (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)

Deago values Opportunity Fund’s commitment to open communication. “If I need to talk to someone, they lead me in the right direction with the right people. It’s taken care of,” he said.

Deago is focused on improving his business every day, with an upcoming move to a bigger workspace in the neighborhood. We’re focused on helping hardworking entrepreneurs like Deago make their dreams come true with our easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans.

We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. Last fiscal year, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

When Eric Torres landed Florida Medical Clinic as a client for his Tampa-based marketing agency Brandiversity, he wanted to add capacity by hiring additional staff to service the large healthcare company. With a loan from Opportunity Fund/Lending Club, Torres quickly ramped up by hiring 2.5 new employees, and opening a two-person office in Orlando.  

It’s all about timing. Helping small businesses gain access capital when it’s time to grow. That’s what our expanding partnership with Lending Club is now doing in states across the U.S.

As the nation’s leading nonprofit small business lender, we partnered with Lending Club, the world’s largest online credit marketplace, to serve many more small business owners looking for a responsible and responsive source of capital when it’s the right time for their businesses to grow. Through this partnership, Lending Club brings its best-in-class platform designed to attract and serve online borrowers and Opportunity Fund brings our expertise serving small business owners and entrepreneurs, offering responsible loans along with advice and support.

Responsive Lending for Business Owners

When Eric Torres, principal at Tampa-based Brandiversity – a full service advertising and marketing agency in Florida’s Tri-Counties area – landed Florida Medical Clinic as a client, he wanted to add capacity by hiring additional staff to service the large healthcare company. With a loan from Opportunity Fund/Lending Club, Torres quickly ramped up by hiring 2.5 new employees, and opening a two-person office in Orlando.

“I launched Brandiversity in 2016 because increasingly I saw that my clients here in Florida needed help reaching diverse populations with their marketing platforms. We help our clients navigate global opportunities and tailor campaigns and outreach with great results,” said Torres, who has years of experience in advertising and marketing.

With clients in the robust service industries that fuel Florida’s economy, business owners like Torres are often faced with proverbial “chicken or egg” decisions. When opportunities arise to grow their business, they need access to capital from lenders who have a track record for responsible, responsive lending.

“Working with entrepreneurs when they have an opportunity to grow their businesses is rewarding,” added Miguel Cerda, the Opportunity Fund Loan Advisor who worked with Eric Torres. “In many cases, borrowers are seeking capital to hire more employees. Our investment has a multiplier effect in local communities.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Florida’s small businesses employed 3.1 million people, or 43.2% of the private workforce in 2013. Those businesses make up 98.9 percent of all employers in the state. Opportunity Fund’s expansion in partnership with Lending Club allows us to respond to the growing needs of entrepreneurs in states like Florida, where economic opportunity directly translates to economic development.

“My experience with Opportunity Fund was very positive,” Torres added. “The application and funding process was simple and I had the capital I needed to respond quickly to a new client opportunity.”

By 2020 Opportunity Fund plans to invest $400 million in over 10,000 small businesses nationwide.

We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. In fiscal year ‘16, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Jimmy is working to expand his Mexican food franchise in Santa Clara County. Iguana’s is set to open in its fifth location in South San Jose thanks to a small business loan from Opportunity Fund.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too.  Read about Jimmy Orozco of Iguana’s Burritozilla in San Jose. Jimmy is working to expand his Mexican food franchise in Santa Clara County. Thanks to a small business loan from Opportunity Fund, Iguana’s is set to open in its fifth location in South San Jose.

Made in San Jose

Iguana’s Burritozilla has been a part of the San Jose business landscape since 1994. Current CEO Jimmy Orozco started working in his uncle’s restaurant, the flagship location in downtown San Jose, when he was in high school. Since the beginning, Iguana’s has been a family owned and operated business, with Jimmy’s siblings and cousins all working together as co-owners of the franchise with four locations in Santa Clara County.

The Orozco family has built Iguana’s into a famous brand, with appearances on Travel Channel and Food Network programs. They also invest in the community by hiring staff from the neighborhoods where they open new stores and funding deejays for local high school dances.

Iguana’s success has always come from within, with Jimmy and the rest of the family bringing a “do it yourself” spirit to work every day. When Jimmy started thinking about small business financing to help open a new location in South San Jose, he needed a solution that worked for his business.

“We were turned down by a bunch of lenders,” Jimmy said. “None of them really seemed to understand the growth of our business.”

Jimmy found Opportunity Fund through the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative, a research program at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business that explores and expands knowledge of the Latino entrepreneurship segment in California’s economy through research, knowledge dissemination, and facilitated collaboration. Opportunity Fund plus Iguana’s turned out to be the perfect recipe for success.

Big Burritos Equal Big Business

Opportunity Fund business development officer Shanna McClearn started working with Jimmy to get the funding he needed to open the new location. The $250,000 loan we closed in February 2017 made a major difference for Iguana’s.

“Without Opportunity Fund, we would probably be doing the same thing but with a little more strain on the company,” Jimmy said of their expansion. “Now we don’t have to worry so much, because the capital is there.”

Shanna’s guidance throughout the loan process was also a huge help. “Working with Shanna was refreshing and surprising, and unexpected,” Jimmy said. “She took the time to understand our business. She gets the entire picture of what we’re doing. The communication was easy and quick.”

Jimmy and Shanna - Iguana's

Jimmy and Shanna closed their deal with a handshake and an invitation to lunch (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)

The new location is fast tracked for a spring grand opening, with more locations to come. Jimmy is focused on his hometown community as always, but he’s also looking to expand to locations outside Santa Clara County in the future.

“We serve college students, high school kids, local business people, locals, you name it,” Jimmy said. “Anybody who wants good food in a fun environment is welcome here.”

We’re proud to support successful local entrepreneurs like Jimmy and honored to serve family-owned small businesses. We’re especially looking forward to grabbing a taco at Iguana’s new location.

We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. Last fiscal year, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Maria Villarreal runs Cosmetica Latina, a successful cosmetology school in Downey. She is also a leader in the Latino business community. We helped her refinance a high interest predatory loan so she can focus on expanding her business.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too. This week, read about Maria Villarreal of Cosmetica Latina in Downey. Maria runs a successful cosmetology school and is a leader in the Latino business community. We helped her refinance a high interest predatory loan so she can focus on expanding her business.

A Leader in Education

Maria started Cosmetica Latina in 2002 in Downey. The cosmetology school has strong ties to the Latino community and supports students throughout their studies with hands-on instruction, internships in the field, and real world business skills. The school has 25 employees as instructors and administrators and has graduated over 70 students with skills in barbering, cosmetology, and esthetics.

Maria has a long history as a responsible business borrower. Our non-profit community partner AMPAC Tri-State CDC helped Maria get started with a 504 Small Business Association loan to buy the building she was renting for her school.

She needed another small business loan to help expand her school through advertising, so she took out a merchant cash advance loan. Soon she found her cash flow drained under the weight of high monthly payments.

“When I signed up for that loan, I thought I was getting low interest financing,” Maria said. “I wanted to build my credit with that loan, but they didn’t report on my credit.”

Fighting for Fair Loan Practices

AMPAC connected Maria to us when she needed help refinancing her predatory MCA loan. Opportunity Fund Community Development Officer Robert Zapata helped Maria get the $50,000 loan she needed to pay off the loan. Our commitment to providing easy-to-get, fast, and affordable loans included a fight with Maria’s MCA lender.

“They offered a lower interest rate to keep me,” Maria said. “They wouldn’t release the payoff letter to Opportunity Fund either.”

Cosmetica Latina - Robert and Maria

Maria shakes hands with Opportunity Fund Community Development Officer Robert Zapata at Cosmetica Latina headquarters (photo courtesy of ROF Industries)

By refinancing Maria’s high interest MCA loan, we were able to reduce her monthly payment from $6,000 to  $1,600. The extra cash flow allows her to reinvest in marketing.

Maria is thankful to work with us as she rebuilds her business lending profile. “Opportunity Fund was completely transparent,” she said. “They helped me understand the loan process and showed me I wasn’t the only one who gets stuck with these very high interest loans.”

Maria is taking her negative lending experiences and turning them into positive actions within the community. She shares her story among her network of small business owners so they don’t fall into the traps that target entrepreneurs.

“I want to make the community aware of financing options and help them make good lending decisions,” she said.

Maria is a prime example of the borrowers we help: community leaders and responsible business borrowers. We’re honored to support Cosmetica Latina.

We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. Last fiscal year, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Nelda and Gammie Vargas had all the right tools to start their own Filipino restaurant, but couldn’t get funding. Opportunity Fund helped GNC Kusina Atbp grow with two small business loans.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too. Get to know Nelda and Gammie Vargas of GNC Kusina Atbp in Sacramento. Nelda and Gammie had all the right tools to start their own Filipino restaurant, but couldn’t get funding. Read how we helped them grow their business with two small business loans.

A Fresh Business Idea

Nelda and Gammie Vargas started their own Filipino restaurant, GNC Kusina Atpb, in 2014. Gammie has over 30 years of experience as a professional chef at restaurants like Morton’s The Steakhouse. Nelda studied accounting in the Philippines. The time was right for them to start a business.

GNC Kusina Atbp is unique in Sacramento: a restaurant/grocery store where you can pop in for a freshly cooked traditional Filipino breakfast or pick up staples like house-made pork rinds for your home pantry.

As a first time business owner, Nelda has worked through challenges to make her restaurant successful. “It was hard at first starting because we had no background with starting a restaurant business,” she said.  “We’re doing better now. We’re focused on introducing our food to new customers.”

Nelda Vargas - GNC Kusina

Nelda proudly serves authentic Filipino food (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)

GNC Kusina Atbp is the only source of income for Nelda and Gammie. “This is our bread and butter,” she said. “Our business helps us pay our bills, our house payments, our utilities, everything. We’re doing well.”

Soon Nelda started looking for small business loans to help secure cash flow for the business. A unique business like GNC Kusina Atbp required a unique funding source. Opportunity Fund was the right fit.

Funding A Family Restaurant

Nelda went to her Wells Fargo business banker, who connected her to Opportunity Fund. Once she talked to loan consultant Madieu Shyllon, she knew we were the right choice for her business.

“Madieu came to my business and approved my first loan,” she said. “My credit wasn’t good when I first applied for loans. It’s hard to get approved for a small business loan without a business profile. I just started my business and couldn’t pay to hire someone to prepare my profile.”

The $10,000 loan helped Nelda purchase a new freezer unit in August 2015. Madieu closed a second loan in January 2017 for $15,000 to help with cash flow.

Nelda values her working relationship with Madieu. “He’s there whenever I call him,” she said. “Sometimes he comes all the way from the Bay Area just to visit us and see how we’re doing, even if he doesn’t have business in the area.”

Nelda is looking to the future of her restaurant. She hopes to call on us again when she needs working capital. We’ll be there to help GNC Kusina Atbp serve up fresh Filipino favorites.

We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. Last fiscal year, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Opportunity Fund. Working Capital for Working People. opportunityfund.org